Dear Madam President, by Jennifer Palmieri
When I saw Palmieri interviewed on the Rachel Maddow Show, I started crying. This book doesn’t take the sting off November 8, 2016, but Palmieri lays out a very touching, emotional, and informative road map to get us back to the mind-set where we believed our first female president would become a reality.
Dark Money, by Jane Mayer
Jane Mayer of The New Yorker shines a bright light on the billionaires that are often secretly hijacking our democracy. I learned a lot reading this book including all of the shady tax-exempt vehicles billionaires use to push their agenda. A book like this could easily be tedious, but Mayer wrote a book that is gripping and enraging.
Troublemaker, by Leah Remini
I make fun of Scientology and Scientologists in my act, something I’m really proud of since they are a cult and for-profit business dressed up as a religion. But Leah Remini, who is a total badass, took on her former church in this book which I couldn’t put down. Remini really helped me to understand how intricate and deep rooted the abuses of Scientology are and why they are allowed to persist.
Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay
Roxane Gay is one of the funniest and most insightful authors, and her book of essays is essential reading because I think most women can relate to her varied interests, and I am no exception. Gay, an academic and prolific author, writes about watching certain reality shows but also recognizing how damaging they can be. She writes about feminism in a way that is deeply authentic and realistic. Also, as someone who has had to work her way up this business for years, I really appreciate that she is an overnight success 20 years in the making.
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, by Anne Tyler
I love all of Anne’s books. This one has a few passages that will stay with you forever. A story of a family that looks too bizarre to believe from the outside, yet, equally bizarre to relate to. Fascinating and layered characters.
In the Country We Love, by Diane Guerrero
You may recognize Diane Guerrero’s name from Orange Is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, but her memoir is about the tragedy that struck her in her childhood. When she was just 14 year old, she came home to discover that her parents and brother had been arrested and were being deported back to Colombia. Diane got to stay in the U.S. because was born here. At a time when immigrants are living in more fear than ever, Guerrero’s book is a must-read.
White House Diary, by Jimmy Carter
Former president Carter has been an idol of mine my whole life. I chose the White House Diary, because he is so detailed, nuanced, and candid about his time in office that it actually reads like you accidentally stumbled upon your teenaged son’s incredibly and shockingly advanced diary while he is at school — except your teenage is son is former president Jimmy Carter and he was 86 years old when he wrote this book. You are going to be so proud of him.
Celebrity Detox (The Fame Game), by Rosie O’Donnell
Honest, honest, honest! This book came out soon after Rosie’s so-called “View scandal.” So it didn’t get the attention it deserves. If you want to know what it’s like to go from being wildly famous and recognizable to returning to a “civilian” life practically overnight, read this book.